I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by Penguin Group, Viking Juvenile on January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
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Cody and Meg were inseparable.\r\nTwo peas in a pod.\r\nUntil . . . they weren’t anymore.\r\n\r\nWhen her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.\r\n\r\nI Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.
I Was Here by Gayle Forman shows the ripple effect of suicide, how it touches not only immediate family members, but friends and even casual acquaintances. After hearing the Author’s Note about where the inspiration for the story came from, I liked it (and her) even more. She is truly trying to show that depression is an illness and that it can take people to incredibly dark places. When I was in college, one of the managers at my summer job committed suicide, and even though I wasn’t close with him, it was still shocking and hit me pretty hard. The main thing that struck me about Cody was how strong and self-sufficient she was, and she didn’t even know it. She thought she was nothing without Meg, when in reality, she was smart and self-reliant and determined. I could totally understand why she wanted to find someone to blame for the death of her best friend, to try and make some sense of it. I think I also liked Cody more because of where she came from, and how she wanted to be more. She was my kind of girl – she never threw herself at Ben, even when she was scared and lonely, and they even had to develop a new “code”, because she was so different from all the other girls. There were a lot of interesting characters in the background of the story, and I enjoyed all the small details. I even liked the fact that not everything turned out picture perfect, and some of the choices Cody made led her to truths that weren’t easy to face. But in doing so, she made some realizations about not only herself and her best friend, but also her mother, who seemed like a pretty lousy parent. The audiobook was narrated by Jorjeana Marie, and she was perfect. She completely nailed the voice, tone, and emotion of the story. While I didn’t like this book as much as I liked If I Stay (I managed to keep dry eyes this time), it was a really good book about a tough subject. I think Gayle Forman handled it really well, and was spot on with the emotions and the different ways that people handle suicide.
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